Got a Great Idea to Help with Noise Protection?

Do you have a great idea that you believe would help reduce noise in the workplace? A great idea for a new type of ear muff? The Department of Labor wants to hear from you (no pun intended).


The Department of Labor has just issued a challenge: “Make a difference in preventing work-induced hearing loss by submitting your innovative solutions to by Sept. 20, 2016.

In their words:

“Twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year. Last year, U.S. businesses paid more than $1.5 million in penalties for not protecting workers. While it’s impossible to put a number on the human toll of hearing loss, an estimated $242 million is spent annually on workers’ compensation for hearing loss disability.

Hearing loss is pervasive. It is also preventable. Ways to prevent work-induced hearing loss include using quieter machines, isolating the noise source, minimizing worker exposure, or creating more effective protective equipment.

Design a new technology concept that overcomes barriers in work-induced hearing loss prevention. For example, you could:

Design technology that will enhance employer training so that wearing hearing protection becomes a habit.

Design a real-time detection system that will alert workers, wirelessly through their mobile devices, when hearing protection is not blocking enough noise to prevent hearing loss.

Design selective hearing protectors that allow workers to hear important alerts or human voices while protected from harmful noise.

Don’t limit yourself to these three ideas. Use your experiences to inspire a solution.”

Find out more and submit your idea here.

EMTs not “Licensed Healthcare Profesionals”

Jeff Bezo, president and CEO of Amazon, was sent a letter by the U.S. Department of Labor a couple of weeks ago warning him to stop using AMCARE, their in-plant medical unit which is staffed with EMTs to provide medical care. EMTs are only supposed to provide first aid, nothing more.

In the letter the DOL states “After reviewing relevant facts pertaining to this case, it has been determined the AMCARE is providing medical care beyond first aid.” The letter goes on to specify that EMTs are not licensed to practice medical care independently as per the state laws. “AMCARE personnel were providing medical care beyond what is allowed by their licensing and certification without the supervision of a board certified qualified medical professional licensed to practice independently.”

Bottom line is that EMTs are only allowed to provide first aid as well as provide referrals to an outside health care provider when necessary.

You can read the entire warning letter here.

Beware of Email Fraud from DOL

Have you received an email from the Department of Labor recently? If the subject matter is “OSHA Regulations – Avoid being fined” it’s a scam.


OSHA has warned people that even though the email looks like it’s from the DOL, it isn’t. Do not open the email and do not click on any links in the email.


New Maritime Industry DOL Publications

Spring in the NW means ships returning from shipping up in Alaska that need to be repaired, mended and reoutfitted. It also means private fishing boats that have stayed locked away for the winter being brought out again, refitted for the salmon runs.


If you are involved in the maritime industry in any way, shape or form, you’re going to want to spend a little time looking over the DOL’s Maritime Industry Publications Page with all its available downloads designed to make maritime work safe.

Here’s a list of what you’ll find there (Many of the publications are in Spanish as well as English. Items that are Bold are new publications):

  • Aerial Lift Fall Protection Over Water in Shipyards
  • Deck Barge Safety
  • Eye Protection against Radiant Energy during Welding and Cutting in Shipyard Employment
  • Fire Watch Safety during Hot Work in Shipyards QuickCard
  • Longshoring Industry
  • Longshoring: Freeing Inoperable Semi-Automatic Twist Locks (SATLs) in Longshoring
  • Longshoring: Servicing Multi-Piece and Single-Piece Rim Wheels QuickCard
  • Marine Cargo Handling First Aid QuickCard™
  • Marine Cargo Handling: Gangway Safety QuickCard™
  • Marine Cargo Handling: Lifesaving Facilities QuickCard™
  • Marine Terminal Fall Protection for Personnel Platforms Fact Sheet
  • Marine Terminals: Radio Communication in Marine Terminals Fact Sheet
  • Marine Terminals: Traffic Safety
  • Mechanics Working in “the Yard” on Powered Equipment during Marine Terminal Operations QuickCard
  • Mechanics Working in “the Yard” during Marine Terminal Operations QuickCard
  • Oil Spill Response: Training Marine Oil Spill Response Workers under OSHA’s Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard
  • Respiratory Protection: Assigned Protection Factors for the Revised Respiratory Protection Standard
  • Shipbreaking Fact Sheet
  • Shipbreaking: Safe Work Practices
  • Shipyard Industry Standards
  • Shipyards: Guidelines for Safely Entering and Cleaning Vessel Sewage Tanks Fact Sheet
  • Shipyards: Hot Work Safety on Hollow or Enclosed Structures QuickCard
  • Shipyards: Safely Performing Hot Work on Hollow or Enclosed Structures in Shipyards Fact Sheet
  • Shipyards: Safety While Working Alone in Shipyards Fact Sheet
  • Top/Side Handler Safety in Marine Terminals QuickCard
  • Traffic Lanes and Personnel Safety Zones Fact Sheet
  • Ventilation: Ventilation in Shipyard Employment
  • Working Safely on the Apron or Highline during Marine Terminal Operations QuickCard
  • Working Safely While Repairing Intermodal Containers in Marine Terminals Fact Sheet

Vote on the DOL Worker Safety and Health App Challenge

Back in August of this year, we posted about the DOL Worker Safety and Health App Challenge designed by the department of Labor to promote safety, especially to the younger workers.

The competition is now closed and it’s up to you to decide who’s app deserves the $15,000 Grand Prize, as well as the other three awards (2 of which are worth $6,000 and 1 of which is worth $3,000).

Head to and vote.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll be voting on:

Hear Me Now –

Teens Lead at Work –

NIOSH Lift Index App –

Safe Hard Hat

That’s just 4 of the 21 submssions you can view and vote on.

DOL posts its Strategic Plan for the 2006-2011 fiscal years

Stumble It! Digg! Add to Mixx! Pownce

Seeking to define and solidify their goals and objectives for the future, the Department of Labor released its strategic plan for 2006 – 2011 this week.

According the the DOL website, these goals are:

Goal 1 – A Prepared Workforce

Develop a prepared workforce by providing effective training and support services to new and incumbent workers and supplying high-quality information on the economy and labor market.

Goal 2 – A Competitive Workforce

Meet the competitive labor demands of the worldwide economy by enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the workforce development and regulatory systems that assist workers and employers in meeting the challenges of global competition.

Goal 3 – Safe and Secure Workforce

Promote workplaces that are safe, healthful and fair; guarantee workers receive the wages due them; foster equal opportunity in employment; and protect veterans’ employment and reemployment rights.

Goal 4 – Strengthened Economic Protections

Protect and strengthen worker economic security through effective and efficient provision of unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation; ensuring union transparency; and securing pension and health benefits.

The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) mandates that the DOL put together a six-year plan with an update to be put together every three-years. While it may look strange to have a fiscal plan the begins in 2006 released in 2008, the previous plan was released in 2003 and covered 2003-2008.

This plan will help the department and its employees define their priorities, plan their budgets and measure performances. You can download the entire document in pdf format or read the entire text online at the DOL website at: